Hey Family slash anyone else who is reading!
I sent some pics this time.... hopefully it sends.....
anyways... what a week it has been!!! It's so crazy that i've been here for more than 2 weeks already! I've definitely settled into a routine up here and its been great! Also my companion is so awesome!!! Me and him are such good friends haha I really lucked out. Overall, its been kind of a hard week for me, just cause we've been so busy teaching lessons so I haven't had much time for myself. Also, I only got 2 letters this week (from Dad and Whitney, who btw both write AMAZING letters!), so it was kind of hard not hearing from a lot of my friends this week. However, I've noticed that whenever things get hard and we are close to the Spirit, the Lord is really good at reminding us about how many tender mercies He gives us! I did get a GREAT package from Grandma this week (you can tell her that the pillow tie was a hit), and I actually got sent a ton of chips and salsa froms mom's old roomate Dawn. Haha Thanks for having awesome friends mom..... my district loved the chips and salsa! Plus, I've really been blessed with such a great district and we have sooooo much fun together!!!!!
So I felt like I should share a couple of thoughts that I've had throughout the week. First of all.... the election.... I heard about it as soon as I could on Wednesday morning and it wasn't the best news I could've heard, but I do have a couple thoughts about it. First of all, in the white handbook it says that missionaries shouldn't discuss political views. That has been so hard for me to do, especially since no one in my district follows that rules, but I've actually been really good at keeping that rule strangely! Secondly, I just wanted to let everyone know that we need to pray for our president to make good decisions, regardless of who he is. In the Book of Mormon, we see some of the most unlikely people make the best decisions (Alma the Younger), and I know that the same things can happen in this age. Anyways, I just thought I would throw that in here. Strangely, I'm not super devastated, at least not as much as Elder Rice (The kid has fallen into like deep depression since the election). Secondly, I wanted to talk about some of my thoughts that have kind of changed since being up here. I feel like this last year, and for a while, I've always tried to probe into all the deepest doctrine of the church. Whether its something about Kolob or other planets or evidences of the Book of Mormon, I've always tried to know everything. Since I've been up here, I've really noticed how much I haven't learned/understood about the most simple doctrines of the Church! I've really made it a point to study as an investigator up here, so that I would be able to feel the same conversion that I will be trying to get others to feel! As a result, I've noticed how much of an important step true conversion is, and I haven't been so interested on all these deep questions, but instead I've found so much happiness and excitement learning more about the simple christlike attributes, and learning about how I can be a better disciple of Christ!
Another thing that I've learned is that the Lord truly does answer prayers. I've learned that when we pray with faith, or believing that He will answer our prayers, we can really have the spirit tell us everything that we should do, and also show us what we can become! However, we must also realize that the only way we can truly have the spirit with us always is if we follow the Savior's example and serve and study diligently.
Anyways, just thought I would share a couple nuggets of spiritual knowledge that I've learned this week. Also, I forgot to mention that this last Sunday, for Testimony meeting, I was able to get up and bear my testimony in Italian! It felt so good to do that! Also, I saw something pretty cool on the church news website. They let us watch the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rome temple, and President Monson said something along the lines of "Unlike the rest of the world, Italy was introduced to the true gospel of Jesus Christ about 2,000 years ago, through the missionary work of Peter and Paul." I'm so excited that I get to continue their work!!!!
Last thing, me and Anziano Allen were called as zone leaders this week. This is really unusual because usually missionaries are in the MTC for like 4 weeks before they can get called as zone leaders. It was definitely very humbling to be assigned as zone leader, but I know that the Savior will help me undertake some more work, and I know that I love my zone soo much, so I'm sure it won't be too hard to do! Also, it really helped to let me know that the Savior trusts me as one of His missionaries, and it was reassuring to know that I'm actually doing a pretty good job!
Love you all,
Anziano Matthew Walden
P.s. Dad, thanks for the letter... It really helped me out this week!